Post Pulls Reporter Off Crist Beat -- UPDATED
Veteran Tallahassee reporter S.V. Dáte has been taken off the Florida governor's beat.
Palm Beach Post Managing Editor Bill Rose told me this afternoon that the decision was made yesterday to reassign Dáte to the legislature and other reporting tasks after the reporter's wife, Mary Beth, was recently hired as a $38,000-a-year budget analyst in the governor's Office of Policy and Budget.
Rose told the St. Pete Times last week that Dáte could keep his beat covering the governor because he wouldn't be covering the "particular office" his wife will be working in (health and human services). But he's since had a change of heart.
"There is an appearance of a conflict of interest and about the only thing we could do is have him not cover the governor's office," Rose said.
Date, who reportedly resisted the change, has been on the beat for the past 11 years, the last ten with the Palm Beach Post. Eight years of that span was spent as Jeb Bush's "least favorite reporter" in Tallahassee. He wrote a book about the experience titled Jeb. Its first line: "Jeb Bush is going to hate this book."
With Jeb out of office, Dáte has been covering Crist. Just this week he wrote about hopefuls for the Education Commissioner post and the governor's plan to change the homestead exemption. In May, the reporter traveled to Israel with Crist. He'll now be focusing on covering the legislature and presidential campaign.